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Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

Posted by janedibber (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 12, 07 at 9:34

We happen to come across 6 sections of cedar picket fence with 6x6 cedar posts for a reasonable price (free). I understand cedar is not as rot resistant as PT, but is there something we should do to the posts which will be in contact with the ground. One web site noted soaking the bottom sections in creosote. Are there other recommendations? Thanks!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

Most of the really good old preservatives are no longer available (like creosote)where I live (CA.).

I have had some success soaking redwood posts in copper-green. I doubt if painting anything on would do too much good.

Mark


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

copper green? never heard of it, but will look into it. thanks.


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

Of course it's the water that makes them rot. So after you get the posts in the holes, don't backfill the holes with dirt or concrete. Both of those will hold moisture.

Try filling the holes with "Quarry Processed" (QP) gravel. It's maybe 1/2" stone and less, mixed with some lime. Once the lime sets up, it's gets pretty solid, but it still drains water.


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

It takes about 25 years for a cedar 6x6 to rot out. The rest of that cedar fence will gone by then.

Al


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

Al, redwood used to be like that. No more. A 4x4 all heart redwood fence post used to last 25 years, now they last about 5. I'm not sure if cedar has suffered the same decline in quality.

Mark


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

I am in the middle of putting in a cedar/ipe fence (cedar posts, ipe panels). It has been a 18 month "weekend" project, and I did a lot of research on the post setting end of things.

I am using 5x5 northern white cedar for the posts. After reading much advice, I decided to set mine about 36" down, using alternating layers of tamped soil and gravel. Putting cedar posts in concrete is not adviseable for a variety of reasons (from what I understand anyhow).

If you can get creosote, a lot of people do recommend that. I talked to a guy who has a long history of building fences, and short of creosote, he recommended "waxing" the cut end that is the ground. He said besides water/moisture settling around the whole buried post, the capillary action of the wood draws massive amounts of moisture deep into the wood. A heavy layer of wax on the end will help deter that action quite a bit.

Someone else reconmended something called "termin brown" I believe, a preservative that you can buy at your local chains. I myself didn't try it.

When setting the posts, be careful if you have clay. Sometimes the gravel layers just give the water a place to run to, collect around the post, and then sit on top of the clay.

As far as cedar quality...I hear that the quality isn't like what it use to be. Back where I grew up, there are cedar posts in fields that have been in the ground 30+ years holding up fencing. But I guess the cedar coming out of the mills now has gone to crap like the rest of the lumber out there. If the posts are good solid heart wood, then you should be good to go for quite a while. If their is a lot of sap wood, could be a problem. I have heard that Red Cedar in particular right now does not have a good life span at all.

I am just a diy'er, so don't take anything on my word at all. I am hoping to get 12-14 years out of my posts, but I am a bit concerned about whether I made a bad judgement call to use cedar or not.
--Dave


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

I believe any wood set into the ground will succumb to moisture. I used to set posts with pea gravel for backfill and they lasted a long time. Now I sink concrete below the frost line and attach a stand-off post base for the post. Personally, I believe this is the best solution and if ever one needs to be replaced, relatively easy to do.


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

There are post jackets out there, or even bituthane all around the post would probably be a good solution.


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

I need to put a 20 foot post over a clff into a swamp....
I will be putting the small end in the ground and the larger end up to suport the fence. I have cut the tree off my land, but have not dried it or treated it with anything.
If I get lucky the post will be about 2 foot into the swamp and the cliff will do the supporting.
My question is: SHOULD I drie the post first or will it work O.K. GREEN? If I have to drie it ... HOW LONG?
(It is a good 12 to 14 inches at the bottom/Trunk end)


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

Go stand in the swamp and consider your plan from that perspective.


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

Use some of that black jack tar paint on any posts going into the ground, it makes them last a lot longer


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RE: Treating cedar fence posts to prevent rot

The reason why redwood posts just as cedar posts dont last 25+ yrs anymore is because they are comming from tree farms that is generally 10 yr growth. So the wood is nowere near as dence as wen it was being milld from hundred yr.old trees. I would recomenf pressure treated posts they have about a 20 yr rating. I have been installing various styles of fences for a numbber of year.


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